Smart sensors to help you better manage N

28-06-2020    15:05   |    Greenhouse Grower

Plant nitrogen (N) content can affect the growth and quality of floriculture crops. The deficiency of N causes leaf yellowing and stunted growth. In many floriculture crop species, leaf yellowing is usually seen in the older leaves. However, this may not be the case in all species. Excess N levels result in undesirable shoot growth and increased susceptibility to insect pests.

Krishna Nemali, an Assistant Professor of Controlled Environment Agriculture at Purdue University, says greenhouse growers can use several monitoring techniques like visual assessments, laboratory analysis, and sensors (e.g., substrate electrical conductivity) to ensure that floriculture crops are supplied with a sufficient amount of N during production. Small-scale growers often resort to visual assessments, mostly due to limited resources available with them to spend on expensive sensors or laboratory analysis. Visual assessments may not be accurate. Moreover, visual assessments of N deficiency or excess is possible only after symptoms appear on plants. By this time, it may be too late to make corrections. Regular monitoring can be challenging in large-scale operations.


It is nearly impossible to visually monitor all plants, collect samples from large numbers of plants for laboratory analysis or test substrates using sensors when several acres or thousands of plants are at stake. Monitoring in large-scale operations can be laborious, time-consuming, and expensive. Without regular and accurate monitoring of plant N levels, growth and quality can be at risk and negatively affect profits.

Learn more, including how new technologies that are being developed and used in conventional outdoor agriculture may offer a solution for monitoring plant nitrogen content of floriculture crops, in this research update, presented by American Floral Endowment, the Horticultural Research Institute, and the Fred Gloeckner Foundation.

Source and Photo Courtesy of Greenhouse Grower

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